February Reboot – Intention Keeping

Happy February,

Actually, we are about half-way through.

How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions?  Not meaning to nag or anything, but this is just about that time where we are either congratulating ourselves on a job well-done, or kicking ourselves for not having more “stick-with-it-ness.”

So, first off, isn’t nice to know you are not alone in this.  Almost all of us set some sort of new intention at the beginning of the year. Some intentions are easy to maintain, others, not so. As we set those intentions we are envisioning a future where we are no longer plagued by this habit or that habit, or we see ourselves having mastered some amazing new accomplishment or skill.  Then, after a couple of weeks, the thrill of the challenge has worn off.  Now it just seems like just so much hard work.  How do we stay present with our intentions? As we work towards fulfilling them, where do we find the support for our resolutions?

Where?  Well, why don’t we look to our yoga sages. Way back when, Patanjali (~400 CE) suggested that our practice should be Sthira sukham asanam. (Patanjali Sutra, II.46).  In other-words, the posture/practice should be steady and sweet. On our mats we learn about developing a steady (sthira) practice, and a sweet (sukham) practice.  We learn not to push ourselves so hard we collapse in a puddle (puddle-of-go-asana) or pull muscles (strain-asana).  We also learn that we must put in the appropriate amount of effort so that we can actually hold ourselves in the posture, but gently.  Too little effort and we won’t get there, too much and we burn out.  We know it can be hard, and if we only focus on the hard (dukha), it is very difficult to maintain the steady (sthira) practice.  So, as we do on the mat, so to can we do with our New Years’ Intentions.  Honor the sweetness, the daily, moment by moment successes, stay steady, and resist focusing on what is not working.  In this manner, our intentions will become manifest.  Stira Sukham Asanam is a mantra not just for your mat, but for living your life.

Was one of your intentions to start or deepen your meditation practice?

Last month I gave you that handy-dandy illustrated guide to meditation.  This month I have a little video for you.  This one is on the scientific benefits of meditation.  I’m so glad this came across my desk when it did, as I was just in the middle of writing a review of the recent research on meditation.  Now I can just encourage you to watch this short video.

On a different note, I’m off to Hawaii on Friday for 10 days of sun, surf, hiking, and relaxing.  Mark and I have even included a side trip to Oahu for some yoga and music at Wanderlust.  I have arranged subs for all my classes, they are pretty amazing, so take this opportunity to experience their unique teaching gifts.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

 

Meeting Hanuman on the Bridge in Rishikesh

The leaves are plummeting to the earth.  My lawn is once again buried in red and gold.  I will have to go out and rake again.  Or, I could also put it off for another day or so and just enjoy the colors.  The sky is clear, the mountains are showing off for me.  And I am feeling wonderful about being alive in this moment, right here and right now.

So much news.  First thank you to everyone who participated in the election this week.  Your care for the future of this country and planet and your vote does make a difference.  I actually could have done with quite a bit less participation from the advertisers and superpacs.  Wouldn’t it be better if we just put a cap on how much is spent on any and all political campaigns.  Candidates would have to win on their goodness and wisdom, and all that money (I think the grand total was 1 billion dollars) could be spent on services and programs much needed in our country.  I’m just saying…

Meditation:  The Meditation Circle at Village Green is up and running.  Every Thursday evening 7:00pm – 8:00pm in the upstairs loft.  If last week was any indication of the energies for the future, this is going to be the best event of your week.  Asana, pranayama and guided meditation; we all practically floated out of the room at the end of the night.

Yoga Classes:  Classes continue to grow.  The morning hatha classes are a great way to explore the depth of your asanas and learn more about alignments and therapeutics.  The evening vinyasa class is a steady flow of postures, linked by breath and some juicy and inspiring music.  And then of course there is the Sunday Morning Salutation Class – this is one amazing class – we all come together and restore one anothers’ soul through the depth of our practice and our commitment to wholeness and well-being.  All of these classes are available for drop-in by pre-registration at Village Green Yoga in Issaquah.

If you are looking for something more personal, sign up for a private session.  These can be scheduled at your convenience, and are a great way to address specific therapeutic issues or to up-level your practice.  Perhaps you want to put it on your holiday wish list – a three session gift package is available for only $175, a savings of $25, and will probably be the best present you get this year.  Shameless advertising I know, but I honestly, it is true – private sessions have made such a difference for so many people, isn’t it time you tried it?  Contact me directly to schedule your private session.

India:  More stories! you say.  What was my big take away? you ask.  What was the high point?  Okay, Okay.  Here’s one for you.  I realized I am afraid of monkeys.  This is weird, because I didn’t think I was really afraid of anything, so learning to accept my fear of monkeys was indeed a big deal.

In Rishikesh, there are two halves to the town.  To travel from one side to the other, you must cross the Ganges River, by one of two suspension bridges.  Both are narrow, both are crowded.  As a pedestrian, you share the bridge with motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, people, cows, dogs and MONKEYS.  At first I was charmed.  I mean the monkeys are quite cute, and when they have their babies hanging from them their bellies, they are even cuter.  But there are lots of them and they are swinging up and down the cables, and jumping on and off the cables and onto the bridge.  They are reaching for your bags, they are reaching for anything in your arms.  They aren’t afraid and they don’t necessarily let go when you ask them or jump upwards in fright. And you just don’t know if you will be the one the monkeys decide to pick on.

Hanuman Shrine, just down from the Bridge of Monkeys in Rishikesh – click on image for surprising details

And there was another time when a couple of us were walking up from the river at sunset.  We looked up the dirt road and saw about 50 monkeys coming our way.  Yes, I admit that fear was what filled my heart and brain.  This was not my home, it was theirs.  I was the alien, the visitor without permission.  And of course I had heard those horror stories about people being attacked by monkeys without any provocation, and I wasn’t about to go tromping right through that clan of monkeys.

Fear can lead to humiliation, and then right on to strength.  In this case, our fear inspired us to turn around and go back down to the river and ask some locals for help.   One of them looked at us sympathetically, smiled, and asked us to follow him.  Back up the road we went, but this time we had our guide and he had a couple of rocks in his hand.  He tossed the rocks up the road, the monkeys scattered.  He laughed, we smiled, (sheepishly) and proceeded up the dirt track, a bit chagrined and a maybe a bit wiser.

So there you have it, another story about India.  And another couple of lessons learned by yours truly:  1) I am afraid of monkeys.  2) It’s okay to ask for help.  3) The results are sometimes inspiring and sometimes humbling.  And most importantly, 4) opening that door to acceptance has enabled me to look at some other things in my life that are a bit scary.  The more we are able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities, the easier it is to move forward and perhaps overcome them.  Funny that I should relearn these lessons about overcoming obstacles from monkeys – Hanuman is after all a monkey god.

Have a great week.  Happy Fall

Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi

Two Weeks in India – Two Millennia of Indian History & Philosophy

Found this lovely statue lying almost buried on the side of the road.

What do you get when you take a handful of meditators, mix them with three teachers and put them in Northern India on the banks of the Ganga River?

An experience of a life time and a deep exploration of the roots of Eastern wisdom, spirituality, meditation and yoga.

I have been studying yoga for years.  I have been practicing yoga and meditation for years.  I have read the Bhagavad Gita, The Ramayana, the Sutras of Patanjali, and many more texts central to the world of yoga.    In fact, I have even read most of these books several times and always I learn and grow from the experience.  I have even felt familiar with these texts.  But it was not till I traveled to India, that they really came to life for me.

I went to the source of the Ganga River – Devi Ganga and bathed in her waters (brrr).  I joined pilgrims on their trails to shrines and pujas dedicated to Vishnu, Siva, Krishna, Hanuman and others. I sat in the same cave where Arjuna and his brothers rested after their battle in the Marabarata.  I was even served coffee by a Sadu in that same cave as he told us of his practice of meditation and Brahmacharya.  I meditated in the cave of Vishnagupta of the Shankara lineage.  The Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita are now vibrantly alive for me in so many new ways, it will take months for me to be able to unravel and fully absorb these learnings.

I spent hours meditating and practicing yoga.  I explored the towns of Rishikesh, Uttarkashi and Gongotri, and shared their streets with monks, beggars, holy men and holy cows, scavenging dogs and prankster monkeys.  Yes, of course I drank lots of chai and ate lots of curry.  Oh, and I spent hours on the roads of India – which is, in and of itself, an adventure.

There are so many stories to tell and wisdom to share – give me time and space and it will come.  In the interim, I wanted to let you know I am back, teaching full time, available for privates and will be restarting the Meditation Circle next week.

Meditation Circle:  Thursdays at 7:00,  Village Green Yoga.  Join us every week for an hour of guided meditation, pranayama and community support.

Speaking of meditation, maybe you are wondering if you should try it.  Well, according to several scientific studies, meditation is good for the brain as well as for the heart, body and spirit.  Yoga Journal recently published a review article that has done an excellent job of summarizing the most recent findings, click here to read their article.

 

 

With great gratitude and prayers for peace & well-being for all beings everywhere,
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

 

 
Shalom & Namaste
Diana Bonyhadi
Kharmabellayoga.com

Appreciating the Labors of Living

Hello Everyone,

This weekend marks the official end of summer. Folks are bounding out for their final fling; boating, hiking, beaching, capturing live music. I hope that this weekend you will find some time to celebrate and honor the labors that you have put forth this year.

Often times we find ourselves running from one thing on our “to-do” list to the next. We wonder if we will ever get it all done. By the time we are half way through that list, we are already building the next list. It is this busy-ness of living that wears us down. Without taking time out to appreciate all that we have done, we will forever feel like the mouse on the wheel; spinning and spinning, yet going no where.

This is, I think one of the true gifts of meditation. We set aside time to be in stillness. We give ourselves permission to step off the spinning wheel of the doing and busy-ness of living. This is really hard to do, believe me, I know. I really like my lists. I am a doer of the highest order. And while we may stop our physical activities, the mind is still trying to keep it all going. It takes time for the mind to slow down, and stop making lists and telling stories. But if we get in the habit of sitting, every day, if even for a just a little bit, our bodies and our minds begin to look forward to this time of not doing, to this time of being. If you are new to meditation, or are looking for a refresher class, I will be hosting a meditation workshop September 22 at Village Green Yoga.

So, I am grateful for Labor Day Weekend. I am grateful I have the time to pause and reflect on all that I have done this year. I am grateful to all the workers – that would be all of us – who make this life possible. So a big shout out to farmers, truckers, engineers, laborers, office workers, cooks, writers, yogis, scientists, teachers, all of you who put your time and energy into making a living and making a life. Thank you for your labors of living.

Have a great weekend. Step with ease into the Fall. Lots of interesting things will be happening in the Seattle yoga community. My contributions include a couple of workshops and a meditation circle to begin in October, after I return from a meditation trip to India. A brief summary of my schedule is listed below, more details available through the links.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Upcoming Events:

Loving Your Sun – A workshop exploring the fun-damentals of the sun salutation series

Intro to Meditation – A workshop offering tips and tools to help your meditation practice.

Class Schedule

Day                       Time                   Style                                     Location

Monday         9:30 – 11:00         Hatha Integration        Village Green Yoga

Tuesday         Noon – 1:00        Hatha Integration        Swedish Hospital

Tuesday         5:30 – 6:45          Vinyasa Flow                 Village Green Yoga

Wednesday    9:30 – 11:00        Hatha Integration         Village Green Yoga

Thursday        Noon – 1:00        Hatha Integration          Swedish Hospital

Thursday        5:30 – 6:45          Vinyasa Flow                  Village Green Yoga

Sunday           9:30 – 11:00        Sunday Salutations        Village Green Yoga

The wisdom of having a spiritual practice

Hi Everyone,

Hope you have been having an awesome, amazing and abundant summer.  How did you do on that Pacific Northwest checklist of fun?  Let’s see, just this week, I logged:

  • Blueberry picking
  • Camping
  • Visited the San Juan Islands
  • Watched the Orcas swim by
  • Jumped and played in three separate lakes
  • Danced to Pink Martinis at Zoo Tunes
  • Meditated – lots and in some really cool places
  • Finished a couple of books

Whatever you decide to do these next few weeks make sure it nourishes your soul.  So often we forget about that in the hustle and bustle of living, and then I wonder if we really are living.  Find Joy & Embrace it.

Next month (September) I will be hosting two workshops at Village Green Yoga.  More info to follow shortly, but mark your calendars now.

  • Loving Your Sun – learning the fun-damentals of the Sun Salutation Sequence
    Sunday, September 23, 1:00 – 3:30
  • Taking the Time to Meditate – opening to the heart of a meditation practice.
    Sunday, September 30, 1:00 – 2:30

And here it is, the reason for the title of this posting.  This is an excerpt from a letter from my rabbi on this week’s Torah portion.   The whole of his writing is powerful, but this short bit says it all.  Enjoy!

 

When we make spirituality an essential part of our existence, however, what we are able to see is radically different. Because our spiritual path serves to reconnect us to Source, it expands our awareness beyond the tunnel vision of the ego. In removing our blinders and opening our eyes it also opens our heart. As we become spiritually aware, we are able to see the essential goodness of the world, the miracle of life, the unfathomable gift of our own birth, and the preciousness of relationship. We are able to hold the pain and suffering, the struggling and the fear with acceptance, understanding and compassion. The existence of love brings up feelings of gratitude, the wonder of aliveness, feelings of pure joy. In such awareness the other is no longer seen as a means to satisfy one’s needs; one is able to leave the past in the past, welcome the future with an open heart, and be fully present to one’s experience in every moment, just as it is. When awareness transcends the ego, one can’t help but see abundance and love.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Summer Schedule Changes

I find it hard to believe we are half way through summer.  But I know it must be true, because I just sent my daughter off to Camp Nor’Wester for a month, and she won’t be back till the end of August.  That means there are only 6 weeks left of summer.

Earlier in the month I wrote a post about what to do in Seattle in the summer.  How are you all doing with that?  So far I have been to the beach, hiked in the woods and gone berry picking & made some raspberry jam.  I have a lot to do in the next 4 weeks.  Next month, I will cram in all the rest – summer concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, Paddleboard Yoga and a trip to the San Juans, to name a few.  Did I mention I want to go on a food cart junket?

I missed Wanderlust at Whistler (the 3-day outdoor yoga & music festival) – Did any of you go?  How was it?

As you may have noticed there are some changes to my teaching schedule this summer.  New Summer hours:

Yoga at Swedish Hospital:
Tuesday & Thursday     Noon – 1:00    Hatha Integration/Therapeutic Alignment

Village Green Yoga:
Monday & Wednesday Mornings:

9:30 – 10:45     Hatha Integration – Alignment/Anusara Inspired

Tuesday & Thursday Evenings:

5:30 – 7:00    Vinyasa Flow

The Meditation Circle will restart in the Fall.

Speaking of meditation, if you have ever dreamed of going to India to study meditation and/or yoga, there is still time to sign up for Journey to the Source – a 2 week life changing trip to India in October. Travel with Ajayan Borys (Effortless Mind Meditation)and myself to the Majestic Himalayan Mountains and the source of the Ganges River and explore the roots of Yoga and Mediation.  For more information and to sign up, click here.  As the date draws nearer I am getting more and more excited.  Two weeks of meditation and yoga right in the very birth place of the tradition. Ajayan spent many years in this very location deep in meditation, so not will we be traveling to an amazing location, but we will be traveling with an amazing and dedicated teacher. Join us as we reach deeper into the very heart of our practice.

Have an adventuresome August.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

Summer Fun in Seattle Area

Continuing Thoughts on the Joys of Summer

Since writing yesterday’s post, I have been thinking more about all the things I love to do in Seattle.  In fact I moved to Pacific Northwest because I had such fond memories of summers spent up here.  Well actually, I moved up here because we could get jobs and find affordable housing, but Seattle was a contender also because of all that it offers.

So here is a list of some of my favorite summer activities.  Please chime in so we can help each other have a truly amazing, inspiring and nourishing summer. I have included some links,

  • Berry picking at Harvolds Farm
  • Watching Firework Displays
  • Beach combing and tide-pooling
  • Concerts in the park at ZooTunes, Chateau St. Michell, or Marymoore Park
  • Bike Riding on the Burke-Gilman Trail
  • Swimming at Lincoln Park Pool in West Seattle
  • Mountain Biking
  • Kayaking or canoeing in the Mercer Slough or Lake Union
  • Sailing  on Lake Union – Center for Wooden Boats
  • Sailing on the Sound – Shilshoe Marina
  • Watching boating activity – so many beach parks abound on Lakes and the Sound
  • Hiking – So many trails on the I90 corridor you could go to a different one every day of summer and not get bored.
  • Check out local islands – Vashon, Bainbridge, Whidbey
  • Check out further islands – Orcas, San Juan, Shaw, etc
  • Camping – Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer, Cascade Wilderness, Olympics
  • Hanging out at the beach – Ocean Shores, Olympic Peninsula, Shi Shi, Cannon Beach in Oregon
  • Ferris Wheel on the the Seattle waterfront
  • Yoga for Hope – outdoor yoga at the Seattle Center for City of Hope
  • Wanderlust – Multi-day yoga and music event offered this year in Whistler, BC
  • Meditating while sitting in the dunes by the beach, or next to a river
  • Yoga on the beach

Okay, this is enough to get everyone started.  Off to meditate, work in my garden and study yoga.  Perfect day.

 

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi